(Art design: Jean-Dominique Lavoix-Carli)
As 2021 starts, Europe struggles again against a COVID-19 new wave and the spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Japan strengthens its state of emergency against the COVID-19. The U.S. reports 4.462 deaths on 12 January 2021, i.e. almost precisely 1,5 time 9/11.
Meanwhile, China also fights a rise in new symptomatic cases on the mainland. Yet, from 13 to 15 January, daily infections only increased respectively by 115, 127, and 89, then by 126 on 18 January. Nonetheless, China also reported its first COVID-19 related death in eight months (Mari Yamaguchi, “Japan widens virus emergency to 7 more areas as cases surge“, AP, 14 January 2021; COVID-19 Dashboard by JHU; Yew Lun Tian, “As China COVID-19 cases rise, millions more placed under lockdown“, Reuters, 13 January 2021; network dxy.cn).
How can we explain this immense difference between various COVID-19 related situations? What allows China to control better the pandemic, when the possibility to see new waves develop is also there (Hélène Lavoix, Is the COVID-19 Second Wave coming to China?, The Red Team Analysis Society, 30 November 2020).
We shall see how China envisions the COVID-19 world and its fight against the pandemic, from an overarching goal where lives must be saved first, to the mobilisation of all, through the objectives set and the related strategy. From these, result the anti-COVID-19 measures China takes and how it implements them, as we shall see in the second part. There, we shall explain that China’s guiding principle behind its policies against the COVID-19 may be characterised as an uncompromising pragmatism. To do so, we shall focus on three types of measures: quarantines and travels, genomic surveillance and, finally, environmental surveillance, which includes struggling against contamination from objects, goods and surfaces.
Living in a different COVID-19 world
In China, we are in a COVID-19 world that is very different from the world where Europe and the U.S., for example, live.
An overarching goal – the precious lives of all first – and fighting a war to win
China fights a war against the COVID-19 and it wants to win it. Its first and foremost goal is the safety of all. It does not solely aim at protecting hospitals from being overwhelmed and breaking down, which would be to confuse aims and means. China does not solely hope to slow down the virus or mitigate damages. It wants to win, to defeat the COVID-19. It has an enemy the SARS-CoV-2.
As Xi Jiping put it in September 2020
“We Chinese have fought this life-and-death battle against COVID-19 with tenacity and fortitude; we will not stop until victory is won. We have forged a great spirit of putting life above everything else…(Highlights of President Xi Jinping’s remarks on fighting COVID-19, 2020/09/18)
We will pay any price to protect people’s life and safety.
This goes hand in hand with the vision opening up the Chinese plan “Fighting Covid-19 – China in Action 2020/06/07”:
“This is a war that humanity has to fight and win. Facing this unknown, unexpected, and devastating disease, China launched a resolute battle to prevent and control its spread. Making people’s lives and health its first priority, China adopted extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures, and has for now succeeded in cutting all channels for the transmission of the virus”“Fighting Covid-19 – China in Action 2020/06/07“
The benefits of victory
China then emphasises that all actors will benefit from total victory. This means not ignoring the pandemic for the sake of financial markets, short-term profits, temporary “fun”, or whatever particular short-term interest. This also means accepting that a return to the past is impossible, what most actors try to do despite discourses:
Those who refuse to take the easy path will succeed; those who meet challenges head on will prevail.(Highlights of President Xi Jinping’s remarks on fighting COVID-19, 2020/09/18)
A nation is great because it never yields, wavers or balks in the face of any difficulty or risk; it is because it keeps fighting for a bright future against all odds.
As a result, the COVID-19 world, for China, as for Australia and New Zealand, and in a lesser way for Japan or South Korea, is a world were one COVID-19 case is one too many, where one death is unacceptable. The aim is zero case and zero death.
For example, China locked down the city of Langfang near Beijing on 12 January 2021 because it has reached 33 cases (dxy.cn network figures for 12 January 2021). Its “4.9 million residents would be put under home quarantine for seven days” and tested to make sure the virus would not spread (Reuters, “Chinese city of Langfang goes into lockdown amid new COVID-19 threat”, 12 January 2021). Previously, on 9 January, the cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, in the Hebei province surrounding Beijing were “put under lockdown for seven days because more than 300 people were tested positive over the previous week” (Jason Slotkin, “Millions In China Under New Restrictions Amid COVID-19 Spike Near Beijing“, NPR, 9 January 2021).
We find a similar situation in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, where, on 11 January 2021 “all residential communities and villages in Wangkui county of Suihua city, Heilongjiang province, have been placed under lockdown management” (Zhou Huiying, “County in Heilongjiang under lockdown due to outbreak“, China Daily, 11 January 2021). The lockdown was organised because, on 9 January, one lady went for treatment to the hospital, was tested positive and consequently 20 out of the 500 tested contact cases were positive – and asymptomatic.
By contrast, the UK imposed a relatively mild national lockdown on 5 November 2020 as it recorded 21,915 cases on 31 October (BBC News, “Covid-19: PM announces four-week England lockdown“, 31 October 2020). Finding out it was facing a new SARS-CoV-2 variant – known as 20B/501Y.V1, VOC 202012/01, or B.1.1.7 lineage (CDC) – it had to reinforce the anti-COVID-19 measures on 4 January 2021, as “on 29 December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for Covid across the UK – a new record” (Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on coronavirus on 4 January 2021). Sadly, as the epidemic is out of control, the UK will most probably have to reinforce the severity of its lockdown as positive cases remain above 50.000 a day (e.g. Alix Culbertson, “COVID-19: How could England’s lockdown restrictions get tougher?“, 12 January 2021).
To take another European example, on 16 December 2020, in Germany, restrictions were introduced according to states to mitigate a second wave. The country had then a 7-days average of 26.092 infections a day. The number of positive cases had started reaching 25.252 tests on 2 November 2020. As a result, the epidemic could not be controlled and a national stricter lockdown started on 11 January 2021. Then, positive cases had started to decrease, but trying to prevent the spread of the new UK and South African SARS-CoV2 variants – the latter known 20C/501Y.V2 or B.1.351 lineage (CDC) – had become a concern (Coronavirus: Germany’s stricter lockdown starts nationwide, dw.de, 11 January 2021).
Legitimacy, international influence and anti-COVID-19 objectives
We thus have a very stark contrast between two types of objectives. On the one hand, in China, COVID-19 contagions are unacceptable. This makes sense in the framework of a pandemic. Indeed, considering what an epidemic is, and considering the epidemiological characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2, notably pre-symptomatic contagion and contagious asymptomatic cases, the only way to control the pandemic is to aim for zero contagion (see Helene Lavoix, Dynamics of contagion and the COVID-19 Second Wave, The Red Team Analysis Society, 3 June 2020).
- The Red Team Analysis Weekly – 24 November 2022
- Can You Unbias Analysis? The Russian Nuclear Threat
- An Excluded Russia? Not for Asia – Anthropocene Wars (6)
- An Alternative Red Scenario for the war between Ukraine and Russia
- War in Ukraine in the Warming Arctic – Anthropocene Wars (5)
- The War between China and the U.S. – The Normative Dimension
Numerous excess deaths because of a pandemic, are as unacceptable, for a host of reasons. Among these, first and foremost, such deaths would question the legitimacy of the political authorities. It would demonstrate their inability to rule properly as the fundamental mission of political authorities is to ensure the security of those who are rules (see Helene Lavoix, What is Political Risk?, The Red Team Analysis Society, 28 February 2020). Furthermore, in the case of China, it would also question their historically constructed legitimacy. Indeed, numerous deaths out of the COVID-19 could be understood as a vacillating “Mandate of Heaven” (天命 tianming) in the collective consciousness of people, which would mean a rising illegitimacy of political authorities (see John King Fairbank, Merle Goldman, China, a New History, Enlarged Edition, Harvard University Press, 1998; Andrea Janku, “‘Heaven-Sent Disasters’ in Late Imperial China: The Scope of the Stateand Beyond,” in Christ of Mauch and Christian Pﬁster, eds., Natural Disasters, Cultural Responses: Case Studies Toward a Global Environmental History, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books), 233–64; Chris Courtney, “The Dragon King and the 1931 Wuhan Flood: Religious Rumors and Environmental Disasters in Republican China,” in Twentieth-Century China , April 2015).
Finally, it would diminish the influence China seeks to further develop internationally. Indeed, China seeks to shape a positive narrative regarding its excellency in managing the pandemic, which transforms the COVID-19 in a foreign policy tool for China (e.g. for early indications of the Chinese efforts Helene Lavoix, “COVID-19: Anticipation, Timing and Influence – From Mobility Restriction to Medicine Shortage“, The Red Team Analysis Society, 19 February 2020; Luke Patey, “COVID-19 pandemic is no soft power victory for China“, DIIS, 23 April 2020; Audrye Wong, “COVID-19 and China’s information diplomacy in Southeast Asia“, Brookings, 3 September 2020Gill Bates, “China in the COVID world: continued challenges for a rising power“, NDC Policy Brief – No. 20 – November 2020).
The reasons for the very different objectives chosen in Europe and in the U.S., would need to be researched and analysed in detail, as their influence, power and even survival depend on them.
China however tells us that winning over the COVID-19 starts first in our head, in the vision we have of ourselves and of the threat and in the way we set our overarching goals.
A simple strategy
Once the objectives are set, they define China’s anti COVID-19 strategy.
The overall Chinese strategy is simple. They are fighting a pandemic, not any disease. Their real enemy is the virus. They seek to block its entrance into human beings residing in China, hence into the Chinese territory, as well as its access to all possible intermediate or vectors. And for those viruses that would get through, China will isolate them until they disappear while stopping them spreading (see chapter “A Tight Prevention and Control System Involving All Sectors of Society” in “Fighting Covid-19 – China in Action 2020/06/07“). Actions on hosts and vectors are then taken accordingly.
It also means understanding the virus and its interactions with its hosts and vectors, hence the emphasis on science, as highlighted in “5.Science and Technology Underpin China’s Efforts” (Ibid.).
Most crucially, the front line and the soldiers are not solely the medical staff as has been wrongly, and finally dangerously, promoted in Europe. The medical staff are heroes for China, but first and foremost each and every individual that could become prey to the virus or could have a role to play in blocking the virus is the front line. Indeed Chapter III of the Chinese action plan (Ibid.) is about “Assembling a Powerful Force to Beat the Virus”, through notably “2.Mobilizing the Whole Country to Fight the Epidemic” and “4.Uniting as One – China’s Billion People”, which is only possible because the safety of all is the overarching goal, and thus because “1.Lives Are Precious”.
In other countries, when some refuse this or that measure for any reason, whatever the justifications given, what they say to their fellow citizens is that they don’t care if they fall ill, suffer, and die and lose their loved ones. As a result, common action becomes impossible and, worse, society may only head towards breaking down, which is an even worse situation than seeing the state fail. The SARS-CoV-2 has already won.
The Chinese political authorities do not take this approach but, on the contrary, try to achieve the opposite. Xi Jiping’s September 2020 speech hammers the same message as found in the action plan, and it is worth quoting him at length:
“Our people across the country closed ranks and were united as one. We knew what was at stake: the well-being of every one of us, the honor of us as a community and the security of our country. Doctors and nurses in white coat, military personnel in green uniform, police officers in blue gear and volunteers wearing red waistcoat all pitched in, and Party members rushed to the epicenter. Their pledge to keep fighting until the job was done is heart-stirring…
Undaunted, we Chinese have confronted the raging virus head on in the spirit of going into the mountains well aware that tigers are roaming. Together, we have written a moving epic of fighting the virus.
Our Chinese nation has gone through many trials and tribulations, but each time we have emerged stronger. This is not because any saviour has rescued us, but because hundreds of millions of ordinary Chinese have stepped forward to fight when disaster strikes.
In fighting COVID-19, we the 1.4 billion Chinese have acted with a strong sense of responsibility, discipline, dedication and mutual support, thus creating a powerful defense of unity and solidarity against the virus.”[my emphasis] (Highlights of President Xi Jinping’s remarks on fighting COVID-19, 2020/09/18)
Moreover, transforming all people into heroes who fight the COVID-19 gives a sense to sacrifice, which will lower resistance to measures. As sense is made, efforts can take place. People have reclaimed their power, they are not anymore passive victims. This is crucial when the efforts demanded involve being locked down and thus externally inactive.
From the vision, the overarching goal, the objectives, the identification of the enemy and the mobilisation of everyone results the way China implements the various set of measures used to fight the pandemic, as we shall now see.
An uncompromising pragmatism
Chinese anti-COVID-19 measures can be best described as obeying a principle of uncompromising pragmatism. This includes characteristics such as measures being rapidly decided, flexible, adapted to the local situation, often heavy handed and lasting as long as needed. Above all, this means that Chinese anti-Covid-19 measures consider the reality of the pandemic and do not not fall prey to ideological wishful thinking, while including latest scientific approaches and technological innovations. In other words, the Chinese will do what they must to fulfil their objectives, using all available means.
Travels and quarantines
For example, China has an uncompromising policy regarding travels and quarantines be they international or domestic. Here, Chinese political authorities have recognised that one key component of the propagation of the virus – if not the key element – is mobility, be it international or domestic (for more on this point, see Helene Lavoix, The Hidden Origin of the COVID-19 and the Second Wave, The Red Team Analysis Society, 25 May 2020).
For instance, considering the now demonstrated increased contagious power of the new UK SARS-CoV2 variant, on 24 December 2020 China banned all travels to and from the UK until further notice (Reuters). Starting 22 December, for Hong Kong, China, people are considered as entering this category if they have spent 2 hours in the UK within the last 21 days (Gardaworld). There is no question of upsetting the UK, tourism, difficulties for one or the other type of actor. The reality of the danger primes all.
Quarantines at arrival used to last 14 days at centralised centers (e.g. Amcham Shanghai, “What to Expect for Travelers Returning to China Guide – Jan. 7 Update“). They are now increasingly evolving towards 21 days. Dalian and Beijing, for example set their quarantines to 21 days for all inbound travellers on 4 and 5 January 2021 (Wang Xuandi, “Beijing Institutes 21-Day Quarantine Policy Over Coronavirus Scare“, 6th Tone, 5 January 2021; Global Times, “New Dalian COVID-19 cases have longer incubation period, with some found to be positive after 11 tests“, 4 January 2021).
Beijing even increased quarantines to 21 days in a quarantine center followed by 7 days health monitoring (“Beijing requires extra 7-day health monitoring for inbound travelers“, China Daily, 16 January 2021).
Here, we should underline that a 21 days quarantine is in line with knowledge regarding the COVID-19 incubation (Stephen A. Lauer, MS, PhD et al., “The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application“, Annals of Internal Medicine, 5 May 2020).
The increased infectious power of the two variants may, furthermore, lengthen the incubation time, or change the number of people infected according to days after infection. It is thus twice wise to decide for a stringent 21 days quarantine.
Quarantine must take place in centralised centers. China here uses the experience it developed in Wuhan. Throughout the first epidemic wave, China created 13 “hospitals” in public areas such as stadium to allow for the proper isolation of positive patients even with very mild symptoms (Talha Burki, “China’s successful control of COVID-19“, The Lancet, Newsdesk, Vol 20, Issue 11, Nov 01, 2020). This “network of Fangcang hospitals” had 13.000 beds available to isolate positive patients who did not need hospital treatment (Ibid.). As a result contagion, notably within the family, was stopped (Ibid.). China is thus able to use the lessons learned from the past, to build upon successes and correct mistakes.
Furthermore, in China, the quarantine ought to be respected and people during these stays are forbidden to leave the quarantine premises. According to the UK Foreign travel advice for China, “Failure to comply with the quarantine conditions or testing put in place, or any attempts to deliberately conceal health conditions can result in being sentenced to up to three years in prison. This applies to both Chinese and foreign nationals.”
The Chinese quarantine policy certainly contrasts with, for example, the 10 days of self-isolation demanded in Germany, where people can stop their quarantine if they test negative after 5 days (Federal Foreign Office, “Information on entry restrictions and quarantine regulations in Germany“, 11.01.2021).
In terms of travels and mobility, China thus considers the reality of scientific studies and tests, as well as epidemiological evolution, and does what is necessary to see the right length quarantine applied. As a result, apart from travellers coming from strongly contaminated countries, less and less people need to go through very unpleasant indeed quarantines. We see here again being sketched the new COVID-19 international order we saw emerging progressively earlier (see The emergence of a COVID-19 international order, 15 June 2020).
Genomic surveillance and beyond
China has been very quick in sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 genome. On 11 and 12 January 2020, the Chinese authorities shared the full sequence of the coronavirus genome with the world (Institut Pasteur, “Institut Pasteur Sequences the whole genome of the coronavirus , 2019–NCOV“, 30 January 2020 – It thus became the first European institution to do so on 29 January 2020, 18 days after China).
Since then, genomic surveillance, as well as phylogenetics, have become key state of the art means in the set of scientific tools available to human societies to control the pandemic (see, for example, Luke W Meredith, “Rapid implementation of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing to
investigate cases of health-care associated COVID-19: a prospective genomic surveillance study, Lancet Infect Dis 2020; 20: 1263–72, July 14, 2020; Pengcheng Du, Nan Ding, et al. “Genomic surveillance of COVID-19 cases in Beijing“, Nat Commun 11, 5503, 30 October 2020; Tsuyoshi Sekizuka, et al., “COVID-19 genome surveillance at international airport quarantine stations in Japan, Journal of Travel Medicine, 24 November 2020; The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, “An integrated national scale SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance network“, The Lancet, Comments, June 2, 2020; Oude Munnink et al., “Rapid SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing and analysis for informed public health decision-making in the Netherlands“, Nat Med 26, 16 July 2020; for explanations on phylogenetics and possible use, Helene Lavoix, “The Hidden Origin of the COVID-19…”, ibid.)
Genomic surveillance, considering statement by central and provincial health officials seems to be routinely used in China as means to control the pandemic (e.g. “Manzhouli coronavirus cases likely imported“; China Daily, November 27, 2020; CGTN, Chinese mainland reports first case of coronavirus variant detected in UK, 1 January 2021; Liu Wei, “East China’s Shandong confirmed its first imported coronavirus variant case“, 6 January 2021).
Furthermore, China continues research in this direction, as shown, for example by Wang F. et al. article, which explores “the host genetic contribution to COVID-19 severity and susceptibility” (Initial whole-genome sequencing and analysis of the host genetic contribution to COVID-19 severity and susceptibility. Cell Discov., 2020 Nov 10). China has also opened its own repository, the National Gene Bank: cngb.org (COVID-19 section here). If it is not as visual and user friendly as German Gisaid – which is most often the case for anything Chinese on the web – it is, nonetheless, a genomes’ bank.
Meanwhile, China also promotes genomic surveillance abroad, which may be seen as part of its “virus diplomacy”, but raises concern abroad (see for the whole paragraph Kirsty Needham, “Special Report: COVID opens new doors for China’s gene giant“, Reuters, 5 August 2020). The Chinese company BGI, which was the one that initially sequenced the SARS-CoV-2, not only classically exports its tests laboratories but also gives away the gene-sequencing equipment, through its philanthropic foundation, the Mammoth Foundation. Chinese embassies worldwide promote BGI equipment. This potentially goes much further than just diplomacy and U.S. officials notably see it as a national security issue because of the sensitivity of information on personal genetic material. Furthermore, this accentuates China’s global position in the high tech field, thus contributing to raise China’s profile – and capabilities – as superpower.
Surveilling the environment, from hospitals to shipments, trucks and frozen foods
Finally China is pragmatic in its way it considers the environment, i.e. all surfaces that could favour infections.
Even though media and governments worldwide tend to largely downplay or ignore this aspect of contamination, China has adopted a much simpler approach. It surveils anything that could help the spread of the virus. This includes logically all surfaces and materials and leads to corresponding surveillance and warnings, as exemplified in this article of the Global Times: “Hospital environment in N China’s Inner Mongolia tests positive for COVID-19“, 14 January 2021.
It is thus not only living beings that can test positive, but also things and areas. And of course, this also includes shipments.
For instance, some of the 2020 clusters in China were related to food and frozen shipments. The origin of the contagion of the 9 June 2020 cluster in Beijing and Hebei was most likely a salmon vendor in Xinfadi and its chopping board (Bloomberg, “Xinjiang Covid Outbreak Is China’s Biggest Since Summer“, 2 Nov 2020; Bloomberg News, “China locks down county of 400,000 as COVID-19 cluster reemerges near Beijing“, 29 June 2020). The 22 July Dalian cluster began with “a worker at a local seafood processing company” (Xinhua, “Containing sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks the Chinese way“, Beijing Review, 27 November 2020; Xinhua, 29 August 2020). In Qingdao, Shandong province, on 11 October, the origin of the cluster was two port workers who had unloaded imported goods and were in contact with other ship workers (Xie Chuanjiao, “Source of Qingdao outbreak identified“, China Daily, 19 October 2020; Yuhan Xing, Gary W.K. Wong et al., Rapid Response to an Outbreak in Qingdao, China, The New England Journal of Medicine, 18 November 2020). A chain of contamination related to the late December 2020 Beijing cluster took probably place “via steamed bun packaging” and originated from Hong Kong (Global Times, 14 January 2021).
For its part the cluster in Kashgar, Xinjiang, was traced to contaminated trucks (Zhao Jinzhao, Ma Danmeng and Denise Jia, “Exclusive: China Traces Covid-19 Cluster to Contaminated Trucks“, Caixin, 28 November 2020; William A. Haseltine, “These Forms Of Covid-19 Transmission May Be Rare, But Can’t Be Ignored“, Forbes, 3 December 2020).
In December 2020, in the official Global Times, China’s Top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan highlighted the potential key role environment-to-human COVID-19 transmission plays in the propagation of the pandemic (Liu Caiyu, 20 Dec 2020).
China disregards here WHO recommendations that deny the possibility of contamination through foods and food packaging (see WHO, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Food safety for consumers, 14 August 2020). Note, however, the very cautious way the WHO answers its Q&A, thus protecting itself in advance, should the main doctrine change.
The Chinese measures regarding imported goods show also that, when it is for the protection of its interests, China easily discards any ideological commitment to trade and globalisation. Indeed, if shipments start being seen as a vector of contagion, which they are if we follow Chinese surveillance, measures and events, and if we consider scientific studies on the SARS-CoV-2, surfaces, and materials, then it is the whole global trade paradigm that is impacted.
A quick look at the very heavy demands put on meat exporters considering the COVID-19, as detailed by China Briefing, should they want to sell meat in China, better shows the strains the global trade system will have to bear. Furthermore, as people are afraid to be contaminated by foreign products, Chinese imports of meat products have started to fall (Global Times, “Chinese supermarkets, consumers seek domestic meats to cut contamination risks“, 3 January 2021).
Thus, the capacities of the global trade system to cope with these various strains, as well as the likely change that will emerge are topics for further research. It is however highly certain that the system will have to change. Impacts on individual business actors and even whole sectors, according to countries, are also likely to be important.
Similarly, China’s environmental surveillance emphasises – and to a point reveals for those who did not see it before – the threats the tourism industry, as well as business real estate, for example, face because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because of the importance of China for these sectors. Indeed, it is highly likely that China will make sure Chinese citizens and business people only go abroad if they are protected by the same kind of surveillance and measures as those implemented within China.
China thus implements with an uncompromising pragmatism all the measures needed to control at best the pandemic and to fulfill its stringent corresponding objectives. It can do so because of strong political authorities, that dare to use their legitimate monopoly of violence when necessary, while also benefiting from their society’s compliance and support.* As a result, the legitimacy of the political authorities is further strengthens, which, in turn, allows for more support from people.
Consequently too, and considering China’s economic and industrial way of development, willed by the industrial outsourcing promoted by globalisation and its proponents, China can boast to have seen its “exports gain 3.6 percent in 2020 amid virus-hit global supply chains” (Li Qiaoyi, “Goods trade growing in China only“, Global Times, 14 January 2021). It may also show huge celebrations taking place in Wuhan over the Summer thus highlighting its people can live normally… most of the time. Last but not least, China can also use its smart management of the pandemic to promote its international power.
The latest evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 with the emergence of more contagious variants, the uncertainties and difficulties linked to the vaccines and vaccination, the mink-related mutation, other possible mutations, probably the need to better understand viruses in such global setting and other surprises the virus may create could challenge China. Pragmatism, intelligence and strength are, however, certainly the best assets to face such difficult possible unknowns.
Notes and references
*We are here considering the strength of the state. This must not be mistaken with dictatorship or authoritarianism, the latter being types of regimes. Such confusions are increasingly frequent in media and blog posts out of ignorance, of prejudice and ideology, or of interest.
Bangura, M.S., Gonzalez, M.J., Ali, N.M. et al. “A collaborative effort of China in combating COVID-19“, glob health res policy 5, 47 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41256-020-00174-z
Bates Gill (2020); “China’s Global Influence: Post-COVID Prospects for Soft Power”; The Washington Quarterly; 43:2; 97-115; DOI: 10.1080/0163660X.2020.1771041
Burki, Talha, “China’s successful control of COVID-19”, The Lancet, Newsdesk, Vol 20, Issue 11, pp. 1240-1241, Nov 01, 2020, published: October 08, 2020, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30800-8.
Cohen, Paul A., Paul A. Townsend, History in Three Keys, Columbia University Press, 1997.
Courtney, Chris, “The Dragon King and the 1931 Wuhan Flood: Religious Rumors and Environmental Disasters in Republican China,” in Twentieth-Century China , April 2015 DOI: 10.1179/1521538515Z.00000000059
COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)
Du, P., Ding, N., Li, J. et al. Genomic surveillance of COVID-19 cases in Beijing. Nat Commun 11, 5503 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19345-0
Fairbank, John King, and Merle Goldman, China, a New History, Enlarged Edition, Harvard University Press, 1998.
Hu, CS, “Analysis of COVID-19 Cases and Public Measures in China” SN Compr. Clin. Med. 2, 1306–1312 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42399-020-00426-6
Janku, Andrea, “‘Heaven-Sent Disasters’ in Late Imperial China: The Scope of the Stateand Beyond,” in Christ of Mauch and Christian Pﬁster, eds., Natural Disasters, Cultural Responses: Case Studies Toward a Global Environmental History, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books), 233–64.
Munnink, Oude, B.B., Nieuwenhuijse, D.F., Stein, M. et al. Rapid SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing and analysis for informed public health decision-making in the Netherlands. Nat Med 26, 1405–1410 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0997-y
Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi, PhD, Kentaro Itokawa, PhD, Koji Yatsu, BS, Rina Tanaka, BS, Masanori Hashino, MVD, PhD, Tetsuro Kawano-Sugaya, PhD, Makoto Ohnishi, MD, PhD, Takaji Wakita, MD, PhD, Makoto Kuroda, PhD, “COVID-19 genome surveillance at international airport quarantine stations in Japan”, Journal of Travel Medicine, 24 November 2020, https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taaa217
Uretsky, Elanah, “China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures, not just with authoritarianism“, The Conversation, 23 November 2020.
Wang F, Huang S, Gao R, Zhou Y, Lai C, Li Z, Xian W, Qian X, Li Z, Huang Y, Tang Q, Liu P, Chen R, Liu R, Li X, Tong X, Zhou X, Bai Y, Duan G, Zhang T, Xu X, Wang J, Yang H, Liu S, He Q, Jin X, Liu L. Initial whole-genome sequencing and analysis of the host genetic contribution to COVID-19 severity and susceptibility. Cell Discov. 2020 Nov 10;6(1):83. doi: 10.1038/s41421-020-00231-4. PMID: 33298875; PMCID: PMC7653987.